Writing, Reading, and Smiling . . . It's Contagious.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Seanachaí’s News

On the last Sunday of each month, I compile "Seanachaí's News," a status report that assesses my work during the current month and also formulates my plans for the upcoming months. It will also give you a peek at my works in progress.

My Work During the Current Month

  1. "An Ode to Slacking" is a short work of dark, poetic prose written in the epistolary format and is addressed to you, the reader.
  2. "Watch, Listen, and Dream" details my hopeful outlook on writing a new piece of fiction. It may inspire you, too.
  3. "Snowflakes on the Pond" is a direct result of my determination to write in "Watch, Listen, and Dream." When reading this short-short, the reader will experience the protagonist's poignant memories and unpromising future. If you don't read the previous two articles, I do hope you'll take the time to glance at this one. This work was a result of sweat, intense emotion, and that dark place we've all visited (whether we want to admit it or not).

My Plans for the Upcoming Months
  1. The reformatting of Dead Bird in the Weeds (look for a new cover on this title) is complete and Haunted Voices from My Past: True Narratives of an Ohio Family will be completed in the next couple of days. They will be rereleased together with E. Michaels' Turtles and Shells and Things (also completed) and The Mysterious House (should be completed in the next couple of weeks).
As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.
In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Snowflakes on the Pond"

If you were with me last week, you'll remember I was in despair. I hadn't written a piece of fiction in so long, I was beginning to doubt myself and my abilities.

Then, on Wednesday night, I began thinking about all of those green snowflakes littering my desk. Inspiration flashed. I left the computer, grabbed an old-fashioned tablet of college-ruled paper, hopped into bed, and WROTE. I struggled for two hours and came up with an almost illegible rough draft of a short-short. The next morning I spent over an hour deciphering my handwriting (yeah, that's an image of the mess there on the right).

While this work isn't going to win any award, I'm satisfied that I closed my eyes and leaped. So, without further ado, the final draft of . . .

"Snowflakes on the Pond"

   The first snowflake to fall into the pond was green. It was born as a sheet of ruled tablet paper that had been torn from a long silver coil tarnished by salty fingers. It smelled of lilacs and budding trees, and as it matured, its swirling graphite shapes sprouted into tentative words. After the introduction, it laughed at the students swapping secrets behind the life-sized, leaping-human mobile hanging in the library and hummed a few bars of old hit songs. It teased her about the crooked toes peeping from cracked leather and complained of homework and tests and a boring lecture that had made his head drop to his chest. The first snowflake was then folded lengthwise twice before being rolled flatly and tucked closed with a crisp triangle. “To ‘You,’ from ‘Me,’” it read and was hidden in his book before finding a home under a battered windshield wiper.
   Now the note is splitting at the seams, stained from tears and drowning beneath the murky waters of the pond.
   The second snowflake to fall into the pond was pink. It smelled like genuine imitation French perfume and spoke as softly as the mourning dove that coos to the dawning coral sun. It smiled and chuckled as “You” (her toes now hidden in a pair of candy-striped socks) mispronounced silly sentimental words and sang a song to “Me” from the ruled green tablet paper. Afterward they shared a box of artificially-buttered popcorn, munching the hot kernels as they made angels in the warm summer sand. When the game was over, the two held one another and whispered to the first star. “You” wished for forever, wanting their lives to continue beyond this sensation of newfound happiness. “Me” added more popcorn to the star’s shopping list before decorating the second snowflake with mulberry hearts from a jumbo box of crayons. He folded it neatly into thirds and slid it into a plain white envelope that bore the name “You.” He then sneaked it into her shiny black purse (the one he bought her) when she wasn’t looking and waited patiently for her to find it. 
   Now the yellowed envelope is torn from frigid fingers by the chilled autumn wind and cast into the pond. The second snowflake is companion to the first.
   The third snowflake is blue. It remembers that his eyes were the color of maple syrup and glowed (just a little) whenever he spoke her name or teased her about those toes. It recalls tousled brown hair and the chewed-up pencil that always rested behind his ear. It sees those shirts with the stitched animal on the pocket and smells expensive cologne. It knows he enjoyed dancing but never with her (her hands were always clammy). It hears him reading to her from a dog-eared book of Shakespeare and Shelley while they ate chocolate graham cracker teddies (which she was allergic to) and drank lukewarm coffee (cream and sugar in his but never hers). 
   The third snowflake recalls the tender voice that grew silent and began spilling through the mouths of mutual friends. “I’m tired of ‘You.’ Nothing great happened anyways and–ha, ha!–nothing lasts forever, you know.” The third snowflake hears the chuckle that began deep within his chest before slipping through lying lips. 
   A blast of winter white, cold to the touch and bland to the taste, blurs into a frenzied mist and creates dizzying patterns upon gold and crimson leaves. 
   The third snowflake weeps and shivers beneath the gray sky. It spreads its arms, tests the water with a crooked toe, and joins the previous two.


As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.

In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Watch, Listen, and Dream

How are you spending Valentine's Day?

I've been sitting here at my desk, buried beneath a pile of books, work, and slips of green paper. The books are falling into the floor, and all of those slips of paper are littering the desk like green snowflakes. The "snowflakes" are hasty notes that I write to myself throughout the day. Some have book measurements; others have to-do lists that have been partly checked off. The remaining are blank, waiting for an idea.

Aside from the fear of writing tripe, the fear of not writing scares me the most. I've been so caught up in editing for the past couple of months, I feel as if I may never regain my creativity. For months I've wrestled with possible plots and tried to come up with interesting characters. All were sent to the trash bin that resides between the desk and the bookshelf.

I even tried to write a short story this week. My first mistake was to choose Valentine's Day as the setting. When I was in the shower this morning, I realized I had done nothing more than retell the same old plot that has been recycled countless times for those Sunday prime-time movies you watch before going to bed.

Have I written all of the stories that are in me? I don't know the answer to that question. If I use up all of the green paper before a solid story idea comes to me, then I'll pull out the stack of yellow paper. If the yellow paper gets used up for to-do lists, then I'll dig up that small tablet of white paper. When the white paper is gone and I've used up all of the scrap in the house, I'll turn to the roll of toilet paper. When the idea hits me, I want to be ready. In the meantime, I'm going to watch, listen, and dream.


As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.
In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

An Ode to Slacking

Dear Reader,

I didn't write anything for this week's blog. I was too busy playing in the snow.

Your friend,


P.S. Have you ever gone out after midnight? Last night the moon shined its gentle white light upon the new-fallen snow that tasted like minerals and laughter and childhood and memories that made me want to cry. I dug a tunnel in the snow to hide. 

Remember how we used to run and hide? They did not find us till after midnight. You held my hand and told me not to cry when blankets were burned by a naked light.

In that dark closet I left a childhood never again to be held or tasted.

Must fruit be ripe and red before tasted? Sometimes little seeds stuck in teeth to hide and made those fake molars from your childhood crawl under your pillow after midnight. My bedroom is dark with the brightest light, but I won't submit to the lie or cry. 

Don't you listen to words or hear me cry? Sometimes I thought you laughed as I tasted those salty sprinkles in the warm sunlight. The golden sphere fell and wanted to hide from the shadows of the trees at midnight. 

Do not forgive memories of childhood.

Why do I care about our lost childhood? Why does the bright sun grow dark when I cry? Why do the children leave after midnight? Why did he sin when his death was tasted? Why did that girl with long hair want to hide? They were sick of feeling the cold white light. 

Smell the dust from the small bulb's dirty light? Remove the untainted shade of childhood and find the silent truth that cannot hide or hear the screams of voices that will cry. It does not pack lunches to be tasted, nor does it watch TV after midnight.

You shrug and ask why I hide at midnight. 

If you don't know why I cry in the light, your childhood died in the snow not tasted.


As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.
In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.